Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 03 August 2015

Eleven Feel Good Hits Of The Summer From Brighton's Most Mysterious Musical Project

Think surf, think beaches, think long heat-filled days of youth and young manhood, and more than anything think Brighton's 60s Mod-heyday. 


Even though the sounds are instantly recognisable, The Raving Beauties self-titled album is no mere 60s pastiche.

All We've Got Is Now may be an instant earworm, but the remaining ten tracks more than just make up the numbers.

Album opener Arrows melodically glides like a Byrds standard, all classic songwriting, jangly guitar lines and Bev Bevan style drumming, before All We've Got Is Now lands and signals the party is underway.

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Some Girls – the album's recent single – has a an almost Brian Wilson attention to melodic detail. One play and you'll be whistling it for days.
  
Just A Fool catalogues the longings and heartbreaks of a typical teenage summer of love. Beautiful guitar lines layered over heartfelt and yearning vocals.

Closer Benediction is seemingly a short, sharp yearning for the peace that follows the blessing of a summer fully lived.


So who are the The Raving Beauties?

They categorise themselves as a self-styled strange imaginary retro Brighton-based band who have caused a bit of a stir since the release of their single 'Some Girls',

By any yardstick, the bands is one of modern pop's more far-fetched projects. 

A little while ago, Northern Irish writer/musician and adopted Brightonian Brian Bell sat down to write a collection of short stories, having recently published Brighton-set pulp fiction novel 'Die Hard Mod' (under the pen-name Charlie McQuaker). 

One of the new stories, 'The Unsung Classic', involved an ill-fated band from the early nineties whose music was heavily influenced by The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and Moby Grape.

"I've always been fascinated with Brighton"s retro 60s subculture which was probably at its peak about twenty years ago when Primal Scream set up camp here," says Brian.


"You'd see wee gangs of dudes that looked like they'd come in a time machine from late 60s California strolling around North Laine and they'd hang out in places like the Heart in Hand pub and a club called The Sunshine Playroom, banging on about their heroes like Arthur Lee, Skip Spence and Gene Clark. 

"I was taken with the idea of one of those gangs being a band called The Raving Beauties, who recorded a retro album which sunk without trace but is then rediscovered as an 'unsung classic' two decades later by a struggling journo."

Upon completing the story, Brian came up with the idea of making an E.P. of what that imaginary combo might sound like and releasing it on vinyl as a 'benign hoax', purporting to be the unreleased recordings of a long-forgotten 60s retro band. 


He managed to convince acclaimed Scottish singer/songwriter/producer Gordon Grahame(Lost Soul Band/Lucky Jim) to collaborate with him on the project and produce it: 

"Gordon's an incredibly prolific and gifted songwriter and I asked him if he had any songs up his sleeve in the Byrds/Buffalo Springfield vein that would sit well with the tunes I had. As it turned out, he did."

The resulting recordings were met with an enthusiastic response from Jim Walker who runs the Brighton-based label At The Helm

Jim was so enamoured of the four songs that he promised to release an album if the duo could muster enough tunes. 

As the album began to take shape, it became evident that, by transcending their influences and taking on a life of their own, The Raving Beauties had outgrown their modest fictional beginnings. 

The Raving Beauties eponymous album will be available from 21st August 2015 via Resident, 28 Kensington Gardens,Brighton, and also for pre-order via this link: At The Helm Records — The Raving Beauties - The Raving Beauties (CD)


by: Mike Cobley


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